St. Clair County Republican Committee Chairman and candidate for County Board Chairman Jon McLean is pictured with other GOP candidates. From left, Mike O’Donnell, county board member, District 22; Carrie Stark, candidate for auditor; and Alexa Edwards, candidate for county board District 14.
St. Clair County Board Chairman candidate Jon McLean joined other county GOP candidates Wednesday to sign a transparency pledge they say is intended to keep local government accountable to taxpayers.
In his remarks, McLean, a Republican, challenged Board Chairman Mark Kern, a Democrat, to bring the county’s website in to compliance with state law and do a better job of posting agendas, meeting notices and, minutes, budgets and more.
He said that state law concerning transparency in government has no teeth to deal with the sporadic posting of documents in St. Clair County.
“When Mark Kern was elected he said there would be a functional Website,” McLean said. “It’s tough to find documents (on the site).”
McLean also complained that a special meeting called in July was not properly posted 48 hours in advance. At the meeting, the board purchased property from the East St. Louis park district for $25,000 then quick deeded it to a “green space” group, he said.
“We’re not opposed to the end result,” McLean said. “But why are we kept in the dark?”
Kern countered that McLean’s remarks were “just politics.”
He said the county site is in compliance with state law, and that minutes and notices are posted as they should be.
“We’re very open and transparent in St. Clair County government,” he said.
He also said that work on the site is done in-house to save taxpayer dollars and that an updated site would be launched within the next few weeks.
The transparency pledge signed by the Republican candidates was generated by the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) which is set to release results of county transparency audits next week. The IPI gives St. Clair County a dismal rating.